iOS 17.4 will let you install apps outside of the App Store

At the beginning of 2023, I wrote about a rumor that Apple could allow you to install apps on your iPhone from third-party App Stores. Guess what? It’s not just a rumor anymore! Apple is making it official with the upcoming iOS 17.4 update. They’re saying you can soon add apps to your phone from app stores other than theirs.

It is only for Europe

Tim Cook with Europe Flag

Apple always sticks to its own way of doing things. Right now, in the iOS 17.4 Beta, Apple is allowing users in Europe to sideload apps. We know that the introduction of USB-C in the latest iPhone 15 lineup is a response to the pressure from Europe. Indeed, the recent decision to allow third-party app store alternatives aligns with the same reason – compliance with European regulations.

For users outside of Europe, sideloading apps is not currently allowed. Despite speculation among people in the USA and UK that they might also get this feature, it’s not true. Unless other countries put pressure on Apple, it seems unlikely that this feature will be extended to users in those regions anytime soon.

Here’s the country list where sideloading apps are allowed:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Republic of Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

The new option to add apps from other sources or install an extra app store will be available when iOS 17.4 Update releases in March 2024. Right now, it’s still being tested in the beta version. If you’re eager to give it a try, you can install the 17.4 beta update on your iPhone.

Little Good news for Non-Europeans

Apart from the cool sideloading feature, Apple’s doing something pretty exciting. For the first time, they’re throwing open the doors of the App Store to game streaming services. Think Xbox and Nvdia – they can now offer full-fledged apps. And here’s the kicker: this isn’t just for the EU crowd; it’s for users all around the globe!

Apple says sideloading can be a Risky feature

Apple has a lot of rules for their operating system, especially in iOS. You can’t do as much on an iPhone compared to an Android phone. Some people don’t like these rules because they think if they pay for the device, they should have more freedom.

But, Apple restricts things to keep the device secure. Did you know that every app on the App Store is checked by Apple to make sure it’s safe? If they find any problems, they won’t let the app be on the store.

Now, with iOS 17.4, users can install apps from outside the App Store. But be careful, because this could increase the chances of getting malware or viruses from third-party app stores.

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